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Liberty Ammunition Takes Personal Protection to a New Level

August 4, 2014
By Bill Waugaman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

Last month in Part 1, I wrote about the demonstration I saw put on by Liberty Ammunition. It was impressive and interesting. The demonstration made Liberty look so superior to other ammunition that I had to do my own testing.

The Liberty Ammunition cartridges:

Cartridge..........Bullet Wt...........Rated M.V.

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.380 Auto.........50 gr. bullet........1500 fps*

9mm (+p)........50 gr. bullet........2000 fps*

.40 S&W...........60 gr. bullet........2000 fps*

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Test 2...Accuracy - Best 3-shot groups at 30 feet (10 yards)

.45 ACP (+p)....78 gr. bullet........1900 fps*

.223 Rem.........55 gr. bullet........3000 fps

* Factory readings are measured with a 4" barrel.

Fact Box

Did Liberty Ammunition perform to the level they presented at the demonstration? Yes. Did my testing meet expectations? Yes.

Casings -- The casings are made with brass and nickel plating. Liberty manufactures their own casings for the 9 and .45. The .380, .40 and .223 casings are made to Liberty's specifications by a select few manufacturers known for quality brass casings.

Powders/Primers -- Surprisingly, Liberty does not use proprietary powders. All powders are typical 'off the shelf' brands available to the general public. Liberty primarily uses CCI and Magtech primers.

Bullets -- This is what sets Liberty apart from other personal protection ammunition. Liberty manufacturers their own monolithic copper (no lead) bullets. They start with a pure copper rod and use computer-controlled lathes to form the bullet. The bullet is designed to have a high ballistic coefficient. To help stabilize bullet flight for straight-line penetration, one or two bands around the base of the bullet sync the spin of the bullet with the rifling in the barrel. The hollow point is machined into the nose of the bullet. The final step is the nickel plating. Upon impact, these bullets are designed to perform very specifically.

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Testing was done with the following firearms (make/model, caliber, barrel length): Ruger LC380, .380 Auto, 3.12"; Springfield Armory XD, 9mm, 4"; Springfield Armory XDm, .40 S&W, 4.5"; Springfield Armory XD, .45 ACP, 5"; Savage Model 25 Varminter, .223 Rem., 24"; Windham Weaponry CDI, .223 Rem., 16".

Test 1 -- Muzzle velocities were checked using a ProChrono chronograph at 5 feet from the muzzle. A minimum string of 10 shots were fired. The results were as follows:

Caliber................High.......Low.......Avg.......Spread......Std Dev

.380 Auto...........1491......1403......1444.........88 ..........23

9mm.................2093......1987......2030.......106...........30

.40 S&W.............2244......2160......2198.........84...........30

.45 ACP..............1996......1904......1949.........92...........31

.223 (Windham)..2982......2842......2910 ......140...........42

.223 (Savage).....3205......3108......3164.........97...........29

Handgun ammunition did meet or exceed manufacturer specifications except for the .380 Auto which was fired from a Ruger LC380 with a barrel shorter than 4". The 16" barrel CDI had results slightly under .223 specifications but the Savage 25 with its 24" barrel far exceeded the manufacturer muzzle velocity specifications.

Test 2 -- For accuracy, the handguns (excluding the Ruger LC380) were equipped with a laser pointer and fired at 10 yards. Accuracy of the .223 was tested at 75 yards with the Windham Weaponry and the Savage.

Groups............Smallest.......Avg

9mm.................. 0.8".........1.1"

.40 S&W............. 0.3".........0.6"

.45 ACP.............. 0.4".........0.9"

.223 (Windham).. 0.3".........0.5"

.223 (Savage)..... 0.3".........0.4"

The .223 Silverado rifle cartridges were surprisingly accurate. The targets shown were 15 consecutive shots in each rifle. For the handguns, the XDm in .40 S&W shot the most consistent and had the best groupings.

Test 3 -- Liberty Ammunition claims that its handgun cartridges have less recoil. Using the SAAMI formula for calculating Free Recoil Energy, Liberty's FRE was compared to a very popular personal protection cartridge.

Firearm...... Weight..... Caliber........ Other........ Liberty........ % Less

Ruger...........1.09 lb.... .380 Auto..... 2.6 ft/lb.... 1.6 ft/lb....... 38%

S/A XD.........1.75 lb..... 9mm.......... 3.9 ft/lb.... 1.8 ft/lb....... 54%

S/A XDm......1.88 lb..... .40 S&W..... 6.0 ft/lb..... 2.4 ft/lb...... 59%

S/A XD.........2.03 lb..... .45 ACP...... 7.0 ft/lb..... 3.4 ft/lb....... 51%

The big advantage to less recoil is the ability to get back on target for a follow up shot, if necessary.

Test 4 -- Since gelatin blocks were used at the demonstration to show bullet performance, the same was done for this evaluation using professional grade VYSE Ballistic and Ordnance Gelatin from Custom Collagen (formerly Gelatin Innovations). This is the same gelatin that is used by the FBI, law enforcement, military, etc. The .380 Auto cartridge was tested. At 1", the hollow point bullet begins to open up transferring the shock energy to the gelatin. From about 3" to 6" as the bullet expands, most of the energy is transferred from the bullet and literally tears the inside of the gelatin block. The Liberty .380 bullet had around 10" total penetration. The other personal protection cartridge produced similar results but only had about 6 1/2" of total penetration.

Test 5 -- Hydrostatic shock was demonstrated at the presentation using gallon water jugs and a .45 ACP cartridge. This was duplicated for this review, but using the smaller 9mm. As you can see in the following image, at approximately .09 seconds after impact, the transfer of energy from the bullet into the water from the Liberty bullet (top) is almost like an explosion inside the water jug when compared to the other personal protection cartridge (bottom).

Did Liberty Ammunition perform to the level they presented at the demonstration? Yes. Did my testing meet expectations? Yes, but I'm still undecided on the gelatin block testing. The monolithic copper bullets used by Liberty do inflict terminal damage just like copper/lead bullets. Where hollow point copper/lead bullets open up like a mushroom, Liberty hollow point copper bullets open up but not into the familiar mushroom shape, and can fragment.

Would I use Liberty Ammunition for personal protection? Absolutely. Even better, I can't wait to try their Silverado .223 cartridge on my next groundhog hunt.

For more information about Liberty Ammunition, check out their website at: www.libertyammo.com, or watch for upcoming demonstrations in your area.

 
 

 

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